By Troy Mauriello
Mary Louis’ pair of stars gave just about all that they could before being trumped by Bishop Loughlin’s ace freshman
Minnesota-bound guard Jasmine Brunson scored a game-high 28 points and Danielle Patterson added 19 and was a force on the boards. But it just wasn’t enough.
The Hilltoppers girls’ basketball team got only seven points combined from the rest of their roster as its season ended with a 62-54 defeat to Loughlin in the CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens semifinals at St. Francis Prep on Feb. 25.
“We needed to get other people to shoot,” said TMLA head coach JoAnn Arbitello-Pinnock. “And obviously that didn’t happen for us tonight, but my team played hard from start to finish.”
Loughlin freshman Laysha De La Santos scored a career-high 21 points and five 3-pointers, including one to give the Lions a 50-48 lead and spark a 15-6 run to end the game. Milicia “Mimi” Reid had a triple-double with 12 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists for the Lions.
Brunson, playing in her final high school game, competed with unmatched tenacity as she attempted to will her team to victory. The senior scored 15 points in the first half to pull the Hilltoppers back into the game early, and in the second half she continued to get to the basket with ease.
Down 9-2 right out of the gate and trailing by as many as nine in the first half, the Hilltoppers were able to gain some momentum going into halftime. Midway through the third quarter Brunson gave TMLA its first lead since 2-0 when she connected on a shot to make it 39-37. The game remained tight from there. Mary Louis held a 48-47 lead early in the fourth.
Loughlin responded with a 15-6 run to close out the game and secure the win as Patterson and Brunson just couldn’t do it all for Mary Louis. In the second half the Hilltoppers got just two points from the supporting cast.
Artibello-Pinnock would not let her players hang their heads as they exited their locker room teary-eyed after their season over. She instead offered a positive outlook for the future.
“I wouldn’t let tonight define our season,” she said. “I think we had a tremendous season. Mary Louis basketball is on it’s way up, and next year we’ll come back and do an even better job.”
Christ the King: 69, Nazareth 43: Virginia Tech-bound guard Kaela Kinder scored a team-high 16 points for Christ the King, while Louisville commit Sydney Zambrotta connected on five 3-pointers to score 15 in the other diocesan semifinal.
Dominique Toussaint, who will be heading to Virginia next season, scored 13 and was solid on the defensive end as well. St. Peter’s-bound center Ashlie Howell added 10 points for the Royals. The top-seeded CK face Bishop Loughlin in the final 6 p.m. Sunday at St. John’s Prep.
Christ the King got strong performances from each of their three college-bound seniors as they jumped out to a 12-0 lead to start the game and led by as many as 34 in the fourth quarter.
“It was a great team effort all around,” Toussaint said. “I think it was the best team game that we played this year. So I’m confident.”
That confidence extends to Christ the King head coach Bob Mackey, who saw his club clicking on all cylinders at the right time. The Royals will try to build off the performance to win a third straight title and earn a berth in the CHSAA Class AA state playoffs.
“It was pretty. At times it was beautiful,” Mackey said. “And that’s what you want…you want beautiful basketball. At this time of year, if you can play together, you can win.”